Leicester outplayed by leaders Chelsea

Leicester City 0:3 Chelsea

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City were no match for Chelsea at the KPS on Saturday evening, the league leaders easing the Champions out with a comfortable 3-0 win…

Claudio Ranieri made three changes to his side with Vardy, Fuchs and Musa returning for Simpson, Ulloa and Gray.
The 3-5-2 formation was tailored to combat Chelsea’s game, but seemed to be an awkward fit that took the players time to adapt to. Although it was City who almost took a second minute lead with their first attack.  Musa battled his way past Azpilicueta on the left and fired in a shot from a tight angle that Courtois managed to block.
But Chelsea took a 6th minute lead with City’s defence all at sea. Azpilicueta hoisted a ball into the box which City’s back-line failed to clear despite having two touches. Hazard squared neatly to the unmarked Alonso who curled the ball round Schmeichel and in at the far post.

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City bounced back with a decent attacking spell which saw a number of well delivered crosses from Albrighton. One just went behind Vardy, one was headed wide by Chilwell, and the others were snuffed out by Chelsea’s defence.
In the 36th minute, Vardy turned Cahill on the right and fizzed in a low cross which Courtois did well to tip away from Musa.
Chelsea should have gone 2-0 up just before the break when Hazard set Pedro up, but he blazed his chance over from 15 yards.

City had just about matched the best side in the country for 45 minutes, but sadly that wasn’t the case after the break and the game was gone when Alonso repeated his trick of a sixth minute goal.
A Willian free-kick from the right was cleared only as far as Alonso in the D and he was given time to line up a shot that deflected in off Morgan, taking it past Schmeichel’s outstretched hand.

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An impressive Chelsea were in complete control of the game at this stage
and Morgan did well to deny Hazard as he attempted to pick his way through the defence.
Ranieri made his first change on the hour, bringing Okazaki on for Huth.
Chelsea continued to pass their way round City: Cahill had an overhead kick blocked by Morgan and then Alonso came within three inches of a hat trick, sending a low shot just wide of the post.
Chelsea put the game beyond doubt in the 71st minute. Kante played the ball into the area, Pedro cleverly backheeled on the spin to Willian on the right, his cross span up off Schmeichel and Pedro was on hand to nod the ball past Morgan.

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The rest of the game was a training exercise played out in an emptying stadium.
City’s second half performance had been truly woeful.

Claudio Ranieri didn’t appear to agree with the concensus of opinion: “I’m happy with the performance – we tried to do our best. Of course, I’m not happy that we conceded a goal at the beginning of the first half and the beginning of the second half, but if you take out those two goals, the match was good for us. We closed the space, we mirrored Chelsea with a 3-5-2 and it was good.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Morgan, Huth (Okazaki 60), Fuchs, Chilwell, Mendy, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton (Simpson 77), Musa (Gray 71), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Wasilewski, King, Kapustka.
Chelsea: Courtois, Alonso, Kante, Hazard (Fabregas 79), Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 84), Moses, Matic, Willian (Batshuayi 84), Cahill, Azpilicueta, Luiz. Subs Not Used: Begovic, Ivanovic, Zouma, Chalobah.

Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 32,066.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
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Leicester comeback at Everton secures 4th round place

Everton 1:2 Leicester City

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City fought back to make it to the fourth round of the FA Cup after trailing 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri made five changes to his starting line-up, handing a debut to new signing Ndidi, and bringing Drinkwater, Chilwell, Albrighton and Gray in.
In the opening exchanges Schmeichel easily dealy with an on-target shot from Funes Mori, while Ulloa got his head to a Gray cross but was wide of the far post by a yard.
Ndidi, already impressing in midfield, then forced a save from Robles with a low drive.
The lively Gray then had an angled shot blocked by Robles, before Everton began to get the upper hand.
Baines had a shot blocked by Albrighton, and then Funes Mori got on the end of a Williams nod down, but sent his shot over from close in.
As Everton continued to threaten, Schmeichel got a hand to a Valencia chip from the left but only as far as  Lukaku, who sent his header well wide.
Ten minutes before the break, Ulloa had to go off with a thigh problem, with Musa replacing him up front. With Slimani in Africa and Vardy ill, City’s attacking options were threadbare, but Musa was to step up magnificently.

City began the second half on the front foot, Drinkwater and Simpson both missing the target with long range efforts, and Morgan finding room for a header from a corner, but it went straight at Robles.
However, it was the home side who were to take a 63rd minute lead. Deulofeu outpaced Chilwell down the right and his low cross presented Lukaku with a tap in.
But this lead only lasted three minutes, as City struck back. An Albrighton ball sent Gray down the left and his low cross found Musa, arriving at the near post. His shot span up off Baines and hit the left hand post before Musa managed to bundle it over the line as Robles scrambled back.
Four minutes later the travelling contingent were celebrating again as City took the lead.
Musa was 22 yards out when he exchanged passes with Drinkwater and threaded his way through the defence, before producing a neat finish past Robles.
City’s defence held firm for the remainder of the game, with a Mirallas shot that went narrowly wide being Everton’s best chance.
City could have made it 3-1 when Kapustka, making his first appearance as sub in the 84th minute, didn’t test Robles with a shot when well placed.

Claudio Ranieri singled out two players for praise: “Musa was excellent. I’ve watched him recently and think he is starting to understand English football better. Ndidi trained just two training sessions with us but played with fantastic personality. He recovered a lot of balls and played well. For 20 years old to make his first game against Everton, it’s unbelievable.”

Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Funes Mori, Holgate (Deulofeu 46), Coleman, Davies, Barry, Barkley (Kone 75), Valencia (Mirallas 61), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Hewelt, Jagielka, Oviedo, Cleverley. 
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Gray (Fuchs 77), Albrighton (Kapustka 84), Ulloa (Musa 34). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, James, Okazaki. 
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 35,493.
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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City grind a point from Boro stalemate

Middlesbrough 0:0 Leicester City

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City kicked off 2017 with a point from a dour 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough on Monday…

Claudio Ranieri made five changes for this second game in three days with Fuchs, Mendy, King, Okazaki and Ulloa in the starting line-up.

After a scrappy opening spell, City’s first chance came in the 7th minute when King set up Fuchs for a shot that went wide of the target.
Ramirez then fouled Mahrez 25 yards out, but his free kick lacked pace and was blocked by the wall.
Boro were unable to get a passing move together until the 17th minute when Traore exhibited his pace for the first time. He evaded two challenges before being halted by Huth, but referee Bobby Madley ignored the home crowds’ loud appeals for a penalty.
Shortly after this, Traore left King for dead down the right, but his near-post cross was spooned over by De Roon.

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City were awarded another free-kick on the edge of the area for a Clayton foul on Mahrez, but this was wasted by King who delivered it straight into Guzan’s hands.
It was a pretty poor spectacle by this stage, with City content to concede possession and Boro looking blunt up front. Although Negredo put an effort into the side-netting and Mahrez was nimbly robbed by Fabio as he shaped to shoot, it was no surprise when the sides went in goalless at the break.

After some early second half pressure from the home side,  City broke upfield and Mahrez sent King down the left on the overlap. But his low cross passed across the goalmouth with no blue shirt on hand to apply a finishing touch.
Boro began to apply some pressure but Huth was dealing with a series of crosses comfortably.
Then Friend attempted a more direct route to goal, beating Simpson before attempting a top corner curler that had no curl and sailed wide.
City had a rare chance in the 69th minute but Ulloa sent a weak header straight at Guzan from a corner.

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Claudia Ranieri made a couple of changes around the 70 minute mark, with Mahrez and Okazaki brought off for Gray and Musa.
Boro’s best chance of breaking the deadlock came in the 81st minute when a Fabio cross took an awkward bounce in front of Morgan, causing him to send a hurried header straight to Ramirez. Fortunately the Boro man didn’t accept the gift and dragged a shot wide.
City threatened a couple of times in the five minutes of time added on: substitute Albrighton crossed for Ulloa, but his header landed on the roof of the net, and a Gray free-kick came to nothing.
0-0 was a fitting scoreline for this non-event of a game, but a point was most welcome.

Claudio Ranieri summed up: “The performance was good, a good spirit. We got one point and a second clean sheet in a row, it was good for us. Middlesbrough pushed a lot but were only dangerous on two or three crosses. We were so solid, I’m pleased with the spirit we showed. This season we have conceded so many goals, we had to improve. We have gone back to being solid and strong with a good personality.”

Middlesbrough: Guzan, Fabio, Gibson, Clayton, Negredo, De Roon, Barragan (Friend 34), Ramirez, Chambers, Forshaw (Leadbitter 89), Traore (Downing 80). Subs Not Used: Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Rhodes, Stuani.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mendy (Albrighton 83), Amartey, King, Mahrez (Musa 71), Okazaki (Gray 74), Ulloa. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, Hernández, Wasilewski.

Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 32,437.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Leicester end 2016 on a winning note

Leicester City 1:0 West Ham United

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The greatest year in Leicester City’s history ended with a hard-fought 1-0 victory against West Ham at the King Power Stadium on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri brought Mahrez, Drinkwater and Huth back into the starting XI (with Chilwell retaining his place) and changed formation, with Mahrez operating freely behind lone striker Slimani.
City went at West Ham right from the kick off, Slimani setting up Mahrez for an acrobatic shot that tested Randolph in the Hammers’ goal.
Two minutes later City threatened again: a well-measured Drinkwater ball sent Albrighton haring down the right and he delivered a cross that Slimani met with a header that rattled the left hand post.
West Ham began to press forward having weathered the early assault. Cresswell had a fierce shot blocked, and then saw his dangerous cross intercepted by Morgan.
Drinkwater went close with a volley in the 19th minute, and then City raised the roof soon after with an opening goal.
Albrighton sent over another fine cross from the right and Slimani’s thumping far post header went back across Randolph and into the net.

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It was the goal that City, and Slimani, desperately needed and it gave the home crowd a real lift.
City continued to press forward and Ogbonna went close to scoring an own goal as he blocked an Albrighton cross.
But as half time approached, West Ham gained control of the game and City had some defending to do. An incisive Noble ball almost set up Antonio on the penalty spot before Simpson’s timely intervention. This led to a scramble on the six yard line before Amartey managed to hack the ball clear.
The Hammers then came within inches of an equaliser when a Cresswell cross from the left was met on the half-volley by Antonio, but his effort hit the bar.
It was an end-to-end encounter now and both sides went close from free-kicks on the edge of the area. Huth’s ball-winning challenge on Payet was punished by referee Andrew Taylor. Payet’s curling effort into the bottom right hand corner was tipped away by Schmeichel.

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Gray then broke upfield on a lone raid and was fouled by Reid.
Mahrez’s free-kick was heading for the top right hand corner when Randolph got a hand to it at full stretch.
City took the precious lead in with them at the break, but knew that they faced a hard battle in the second half.
Although West Ham had more possession, they were being kept at bay by City, until a close call in the 67th minute.
Cresswell’s well-struck free kick from the right took a deflection of Chilwell, but Schmeichel managed to change direction to pounce on the loose ball.
Claudio Ranieri made his first change with 20 minutes remaining, bringing on Fuchs for Mahrez and pushing Chilwell forward.
Payet went on a run though City’s defence, but his shot went tamely at Schmeichel.

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With ten minutes remaining, City were beginning to look a bit laboured and Ranieri injected new life into the performance, bringing on Okazaki and Ulloa for Gray and Slimani. This had the desired effect and the tide turned with City now pressing forward.
Chilwell connected well with a shot from inside the area but Carroll blocked.
With five minutes remaining Cresswell crossed from the left but Carroll’s free-header went a yard wide from close in.
During six minutes of time added on, Simpson blocked Ogbonna’s header, and City had done enough to earn a very welcome three points.

It was a fitting end to 2016, as Claudio Ranieri enthused: “It is very important to get three points to close our fantastic year – it was unbelievable for us. Of course, it is very important for our table, twenty points. Forty is considered the magic number to survive relegation, and we are halfway through.
Our first thirty minutes were fantastic. In the second half we closed all the space very well and tried to score a goal. It’s important now to improve our confidence and be solid and strong.”

Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell; Drinkwater, Amartey; Gray (Okazaki 80), Mahrez (Fuchs 70), Albrighton; Slimani (Ulloa 82).Subs Not Used: Zieler, King, Mendy, Musa.
West Ham: Randolph, Reid, Cresswell, Nordtveit, Kouyate (Fernandes 78), Carroll, Noble (Lanzini 57), Ayew (Feghouli 64), Ogbonna, Payet, Antonio. Subs Not Used: Adrian, Obiang, Fletcher, Quina.

Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 32,060.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frameThe framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Boxing Day Blues for Leicester

Leicester City 0:2 Everton

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Two second half goals for Everton ensured a miserable Boxing Day for Leicester fans…

It was an unfamiliar line-up for City, with Vardy, Huth and Fuchs suspended, and Mahrez and Drinkwater on the bench. Okazaki, Gray, Wasilewski and Chilwell all made the starting XI.
City got off to a decent start, Amartey tested Robles with a long range effort, and then Gray received a clearance from Schmeichel, combined well with Albrighton and made room for a shot that went wide of the right hand post.
Everton were happy to sit back and let City have possession, and the game became deadlocked, notable only for a superb debut from Chilwell, who was solid in defence and a threat going forward.

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The visitors began to push forward towards the break and created a couple of chances, Funes Mori heading over from close in, before Baines fired a low ball across the area that evaded  the outstretched boot of Mirallas by a couple of inches.
So it was 0-0 at the break, with an understrength City side having just about edged the half.
Sadly that didn’t continue. With Drinkwater on for Okazaki, City attempted to apply some early pressure, but were hit with a sucker punch on the break in the 51st minute.
A huge clearance from keeper Robles saw Mirallas racing between Morgan and Wasilewski before sliding home a shot which was diverted past Schmeichel as Wasilewski attempted a late block.

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City went in pursuit of an equaliser, but were making little impression going forward.
Claudio Ranieri made a couple of changes in the 64th minute, bringing on Mahrez for King and Ulloa for Gray. Boos rang out from the stands, with many fans thinking that Slimani should have been hooked, rather than Gray.
Ulloa’s first touch saw him get his head to a Simpson cross, but his effort went straight into Robles’ hands.

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City struggled to create any clear cut chances after that, and Everton put the game beyond them with a second goal in injury time.
A ball from Barkley found Lukaku on the right, and he outmuscled Morgan before turning Wasilewski insideout and slotting past Schmeichel.

Claudio Ranieri commented: “We were in control but suddenly there was a long kick and we reacted a little late and they scored. After that we were nervous, and controlled the match much better. This season is this way – nothing is right, nothing is easy. We have to work and react. That’s our medicine. We have to stay together in the bad moment.”

City are now in a relegation battle and desperately need something from the West Ham game to end what was their greatest ever year on a high note.

Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Chilwell; Gray (Ulloa 64), Amartey, King (Mahrez 64), Albrighton; Okazaki (Drinkwater 45), Slimani. Subs Not Used: Hernandez, Musa, Zieler, Mendy.
Everton: Joel, Baines, Funes Mori, Williams, Holgate, Coleman, Barry (Davies 68), Gana, Mirallas (Barkley 75), Lennon (Cleverley 88), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Hewelt, Jagielka, Deulofeu, Valencia.

Referee: S Attwell. Attendance: 31,985.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frameThe framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Ten man Leicester make their point at Stoke

Stoke City 2:2 Leicester City

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Despite some harsh decisions from referee Craig Pawson, City battled their way to a glorious point at Stoke on Saturday with a late equaliser form Daniel Amartey.

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side, with Schmeichel back from injury and Simpson returning from suspension.
Schmeichel was soon in action as Stoke enjoyed a good opening spell and the Danish keeper did well to block a Walters effort from close in with his leg.
There was another good save at the other end as Grant tipped a looping header from Huth over the bar at full stretch.
Grant was called into further action saving a low shot from Slimani and a deflected effort from Vardy, before a fierce Fuchs volley was blocked.
City had their tails up now, but events were about to take a turn.
Just before the half hour, Vardy was shoved over by Johnson as went in for a challenge on  Diouf. He won the ball as he went down, but referee Craig Pawson very harshly judged it to be dangerous play and wielded the red card.

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Ten man City were on the back foot for the remainder of the half and Pawson helped them with their breakthrough in the 39th minute.
As Simpson slid in to try and block a cross from Bojan the ball struck his right hand. Another harsh judgement saw Pawson pointing to the spot, before booking Simpson for something he couldn’t do anything about.
Bojan blasted the spot-kick past Schmeichel to give City an uphill task.
Things were to get worse before half time. Pawson developed Yellow Fever and now every Leicester foul was a booking. King, Slimani, Fuchs and Albrighton all followed Simpson into the book in a surreal spell, and then Stoke grabbed a second with almost the last kick of the half. Imbula crashed a shot against the right hand post, the ball rebounded off Schmeichel and Allen was presented with a tap in.
It was now surely a damage limitataion exercise, as the City players, and even Claudio Ranieri, raged at Pawson as the sides left the field.

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Fortunately, City managed to channel their anger into something much better.
Stoke came out looking for a third that would see City dead and buried, but Schmeichel produced a brilliant save to deny Walters’ firm header from 8 yards and Morgan got a good block on a Pieters volley.
Ranieri made his first changes in the 72nd minute, bringing on Gray and Ulloa for Albrighton and Slimani, and it had an instant effect. within two minutes Gray delivered a fine cross from the right and Ulloa rose at the far post to nod it over line. Although it had been cleared by Shawcross, goal line technology soon confirmed that the ten men were back in the game.
Gray then attacked down the left flank, cut in and fired in what was an on target effort before it was deflected over the bar.
City continued to press forward, determined to get a point, and it arrived with two minutes remaining. Fuchs swung a ball into the box and Amartey rose above the Stoke defence to nod home his first goal for the club, sparking riotous scenes of celebration in the away section.

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In injury time Whelan blasted a 20 yard shot goalwards, but Schmeichel was equal to it, and the ref’s whistle heralded a famous point for City.

They had reacted brilliantly to the car crash of a first half, and although they will be left to count the cost of suspensions, this could prove to be a turning point in the season.

Claudio Ranieri revealed:“During half time we spoke a lot and we continued to believe that something would be possible. They made a fantastic performance.”

Stoke: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Diouf, Whelan (Ramadan 90), Imbula, Pieters, Allen, Bojan (Adam 83), Walters. Subs Not Used: Given, Bony, Shaqiri, Crouch, Ngoy.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, King, Amartey, Mahrez (Musa 80), Albrighton (Gray 72), Slimani (Ulloa 72), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, Mendy, Okazaki.

Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 27,663.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber. 
———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frameThe framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Champions Framed Prints – Christmas Deadline

The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…
If you want them as a Christmas present (and who wouldn’t?) then you need to order them in the next couple of days.
frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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